Skip to main content


Buy Article:

$9.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Or sign up for a free trial

The plan for change and the actual change process in a wastewater department can be two remotely different activities based on the organization, its internal culture, and strength of the union and expressiveness of customers.

Each step of moving from the traditional government business models to more progressive, competitive models presents organizational choices along the way. This paper and the associated presentation discuss this utility's success story and gives insight into decisions made by the performance management sponsoring team to achieve large cost savings in an environment of very strong union and customer pressure.

The Warren facilities include a 36 MGD design flow, operating at around 26 MGD average flow, with peaks in excess of 100 MGD. The most labor-intensive processes include scum handling from the primary and secondary systems, and the solids handling processes including pressure flotation, belt filter presses, and a multiple hearth incinerator. Remote facilities include a single, large, remote pumping station.

The overall performance improvement project for the Warren, MI, Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) is in its fifth and final year. The program has included the following:

conducted an initial assessment of the organization, practices, and technology used within treatment facilities;

formed, trained, and guided the following teams to assess business cases for improvements, and plan and ensure completion of significant changes:

change sponsor team to plan, oversee, and remove obstacles to improve the organization's ability to properly produce clean water at a much lower cost

executive decision-making team which improved communication between the union and plant staff

grassroots-level steering team of many union employees guided by a management representative to help oversee and set direction for the union-staffed teams within the plant

community and in-plant employee communications team

chemical-energy-materials reduction team

workforce flexibility team which investigated ways to have workers get out of old “silos” of limited activities

skills-based compensation team to develop programs to reward more flexible and skilled workers

pilot recognition and incentive-based pay to facilitate project

plan-driven maintenance team to design and implement best maintenance practices

technology team to select and implement enabling technology (including control systems and maintenance management) as tools for higher productivity

computerized work management implementation team

teams of employees to pilot test the improvement ideas

implemented new technologies.

EMA's initial assessment found a significant gap between the controllable O&M costs versus the expected O&M costs if the plant was operated and maintained using recognized best practices in the industry. Annual savings now exceed 1.75 million per year with a four-year total of 5.8 million. Total savings are projected to be 8M by the end of 2003.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

More about this publication?
  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation includes access to most papers presented at the annual WEF Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) and other conferences held since 2000. Subscription access begins 12 months after the event and is valid for 12 months from month of purchase. A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is included in Water Environment Federation (WEF) membership.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access. Access begins 12 months after the conference or event
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Learn about the many other WEF member benefits and join today
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more